Pets: In winter Teddy’s coat needs a store-bought coat

A good friend and avid reader of the New York Times sent a link to a story about preparing your dog for the winter months.

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It talked about the usual stuff. Wiping paws after a walk to remove salt and ice. The dangers of dogs drinking anti-freeze. Limiting baths because of dry winter skin.

One section discussed in length the need for most dogs to have a winter garment to protect them from the elements. Author Jane E. Brody cited vet Nancy Kay on this issue. Kay said that only dogs that are large and thick-coated arctic breeds could go without a coat. Example breeds included Alaskan Malamute and Samoyed.

Brody suggested a garment that is waterproof and, if it’s a male dog, a garment that doesn’t obstruct from doing his business.

James Rhys Clarke at writes that hairless breeds, small breeds, senior dogs, puppies as well as dogs with certain health conditions all need winter clothes to keep them warm.

He suggests these garments be comfortable and not restrict range of motion. Nor should they chafe or cut off dogs’ circulation.

Our first dog, Mocha, a miniature schnauzer, always wore a sweater coat when traveling or taking walks. She was groomed regularly, her hair kept short. A garment was a necessity for keeping her warm.

Mocha wore a variety of sweater coats during her 16 years. The colors ranged from reds to grays and blacks. We thought these colors went well with her salt-and-pepper coloring.

Our second dog, Lucy, a Heinz 57 variety, never wore a winter coat when traveling or taking walks. She had a long, lush, coat of reds, browns and whites.

She didn’t like wearing bandanas, so I’m sure she would have found a coat restricting.

Teddy, our petite lab’s, hair is short and thin. He and his dad take a lot of walks. The pooch travels to Michigan in the fall and winter months with us. Definitely the recipe for a warm winter coat.

Ed picked out Teddy’s coat. We had gone to one of our favorite pet stores in search of said coat but I quickly became distracted with picking out toys for rescued greyhounds.

Ed tracked down a sales associate and the two started plowing through a pile of coats.

As I was navigating through the small store’s toy section, I could hear the sales associate asking Ed the breed of dog he was shopping for. Size and sex were the next questions.

In rapid fire succession, he said lab, 57 pounds, male. With that information, the sales associate start holding up coats for Ed to choose from.

By the time, I walked up to the counter with the toys I had picked out for the greyhounds, Ed was waiting with his coat selection.

The coat was a sharp blue, gray and black plaid. No ruffles, cute words or ribbons adorned the coat. Simple but refined. Any male dog would be proud to wear.

When we got home, Ed put the coat on Teddy to check the size. It fit him perfectly. The coat’s colors complemented the pooch’s black hair.

The pattern seemed oddly familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it until I looked at the photo I had taken of Teddy wearing his manly coat to send to our daughter, Jordan.

I had caught Ed’s pant legs in the photo. He was sporting the same plaid. The guy knows what he likes.

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at

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